Housing News Roundup: September 21, 2017
This Rare Collaboration Reimagines the Role of Schools
When city housing officials promised $500 million to remake Sharswood, a North Philadelphia neighborhood historically ridden with poverty and crime, one of their top priorities was building a school. Last month, Vaux Big Picture High School opened and will soon house medical and dental clinics, after-school programs, and a team of resilience specialists. “For each of these kids who are going to Vaux, if 90 percent of them go off to college and graduate from college, they won’t be coming back to public housing,” said Kelvin A. Jeremiah, the Philadelphia Housing Agency’s president and CEO.
Houston Housing Faces an Expensive and Unequal Recovery
The development that advanced Houston’s affordability before Hurricane Harvey induced unprecedented flooding and has set the stage for limited affordable housing in the future. Houston was already one of the country’s most economically segregated cities, and socially and financially vulnerable families will now face even steeper hurdles. “I think the number one threat to affordable housing is the fact that systemic racism and classism still allow us to make distinctions between each other, to our own detriment,” said Andreanecia Morris, executive director of HousingNOLA, who faced similar obstacles after Hurricane Katrina.
Source: Hurricane Recovery
Hepatitis A Outbreak Pushes Homelessness into the Spotlight
San Diego’s severe hepatitis A outbreak has many cities worried and strategizing ways to deal with the prevalent problem of their own growing homeless populations. San Diego has given out vaccinations, set up handwashing stations and portable toilets, and is power washing sidewalks and other public areas. But compared with San Diego’s 9,116 homeless people, Los Angeles is home to about 58,000 homeless people, more than 42,000 of whom are unsheltered, which marks a 23 percent increase from last year. What would happen if another city with an even larger homeless population faced a similar crisis?
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune
This Startup Will Help Make Homeownership a Reality—with One Condition
Loftium, a Seattle start-up, will provide up to $50,000 to prospective homebuyers for a down payment. Here’s the catch: they must be willing to list an extra bedroom on Airbnb for one to three years and share most of their earnings with Loftium. Twenty-nine-year-old founder Yifan Zhang came up with the idea after hearing many friends discuss not being able to afford a down payment because of high rental rates and student debt, among other reasons. “It’s for the people who don’t have the parents to help or the high income to save while paying rent,” Zhang said.
Source: New York Times
Detroit Approves New Affordable Housing Laws
On Tuesday, Detroit’s city council approved two affordable housing ordinances. One will require housing developers who receive a specified amount of public subsidies or discounted city-owned land to reserve at least 20 percent of their units for low-income residents. The second ordinance will protect seniors and low-income residents from sudden displacement. “Making a law of this kind is a milestone for our city,” said Arthur Jemison of the city’s Housing and Revitalization Department. “It’s going to be a huge statement about the priority of affordable housing and the work we do.”
Source: Detroit Free Press